3 Most Universal Programming Languages

Programming languages, libraries, frameworks, and tools come and go. Each language changes over time, as innovators tweak the tool and create new best practices for their use. There is no universal programming language; from Ruby to Python, there are many different dialects of machine language, not unlike human speech. 

However, over the years, there are more widely used languages than others. This article will look at three of the most popular languages and why they resonate with the majority of developers. 

Top Programming Languages 

There are at least 700 computer programming languages in the world today. But there is an equally large number of frameworks and tools to go with each language. There is no universal computer language, just a plethora of choices to consider if you’re a developer. Right now, some of the top languages include: 

  • JavaScript 
  • HTML 
  • CSS 
  • SQL 
  • Java 
  • Python 
  • C# 

Each year this list changes, and lately, a newer language called Rust made the top of the list for popularity with developers.  


Primary niche: Android applications 

Java has remained one of the most popular programming languages for years. Java is the language used to build the back of the stack, on the server-side of the software product. Java is flexible; it can be used for everything from a phone app to a video game. The language is designed for portability and runs effectively across all kinds of software platforms, although it is a core foundation for Android applications. Java Virtual Machine (JVM) is a widely used tool by more than 90% of the Fortune 500, according to New Relic. Over the past few years, Java remains a developer favorite for its “write once, run anywhere,” approach. In 2019, three of the top developer websites, RedMonk, Stack Overflow, and SlashData, listed JavaScript as the most popular, and therefore most universal languages used that year. 


Primary Niche: Web development 

JavaScript, which is not related to Java, is a popular language used to add interactivity on websites. It’s one of the more natural languages to learn; developers call it a “beginner language,” which has reinforced its popularity in the developer community. Like Java, JavaScript has a primary use; it is best and most frequently used for web applications. The language consistently is in the top 10 most popular tools for developers to use. 


Primary Niche: Big data development or anything else 

Python has been creeping up on JavaScript as the most popular language for developers today. That’s in part because some developers believe they can be two or three times more productive when using Python over any other language. Too, Python has frameworks for virtually any venue, from big data to web applications. Many developers believe Python is the easiest language to learn, and the language is widely used today. Commonly used platforms Pinterest and Instagram were both written in Python. 

One thing to pay particular attention to is that developers keep adding functionality to these languages to improve them. The general rule of thumb with technology is that it never stops changing, growing, and improving. There is no “universal” programming language, just as there is no universal type of software to solve a business problem. Developers must pick and choose their preferred languages based on what they’re trying to build, their aptitude, plus the job at hand. One thing is certain, languages will change, and developers will continue to need to hone their skills and adapt to keep their skills sharp.  

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